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Arsenal roster set to start against Aston Villa


After Arsenal’s defeat at Molineux on Tuesday night, Mikel Arteta will be without first-choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno and experienced center-back David Luiz.

The Gunners got off to a flying start and took the lead with a masterful individual goal from Nicolas Pepe, but when Luiz knocked Wolves’ Willian Jose down in the penalty area and was sent off by referee Craig Pawson, the things have gone wrong.

Joao Moutinho’s superb strike in the second half allowed Wolves to complete the comeback and when Bernd Leno was sent off Arsenal fell to nine men and returned to London empty-handed.

Subsequent suspensions along with a number of injury issues mean Arteta will be without some key players for his trip to Aston Villa tomorrow. Taking into account all of the above, 90 mins takes a look at which side the Arsenal boss is expected to name for this weekend’s game.

The Gunners will be without Bernd Leno and David Luiz, both suspended
The Gunners will be without Bernd Leno and David Luiz, both suspended | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Runar Runarsson (GK) – The Icelandic stopper’s performance in an Arsenal shirt has so far failed to convince the Gunners loyalists that he is a competent assistant for Leno, but with doubts over the fitness of Maty Ryan, Arteta He may have no choice but to turn to the 25-year-old.

Hector Bellerin (RB) – After sending Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan and with Kieran Tierney still sidelined, Bellerin’s only natural replacement is Cedric Soares who must replace left-back. That, added to the Spaniard’s good performances lately, means he should continue.

Rob Holding (CB) – Continues to perform at a very high level, has made its own the good central defensive position in recent months. Must be one of the first names on the team sheet at this time.

Gabriel (CB) – Returning following an episode after contracting the coronavirus, Gabriel had to patiently wait for a return to the starting 11 in the Premier League. Luiz serving a suspension following his recent red card, his Brazilian compatriot seems ready to take his place.

Cedric (LB) – The Portuguese defender has done a great job replacing Kieran Tierney so far. Although he played on the wrong side, he was proficient in both offensive and defensive phases of play. He had to wait for an opportunity to have a run in the side, but so far he has taken it with both hands.

Emile Smith-Rowe
Smith Rowe is in good shape | Matthew Ashton – AMA / Getty Images

Granite Xhaka (CM) – The Swiss midfielder continued his excellent form at Wolves on Tuesday night and proved himself in Mikel Arteta’s side, finding the right balance between defense and attack. The 28-year-old is currently one of the most important players on this team.

Thomas Partey (CM) – The summer signing looked a lot fitter and sharper in Wolves play. His athleticism and tendency to always seek out the most progressive passing option led him to form a strong partnership with Xhaka. The couple brilliantly compliment each other.

Emile Smith Rowe (AM) – Was the key to Arsenal’s recent return to form. After bringing Martin Odegaard to the club last month, the 20-year-old now faces competition from the Norwegian, but if he’s fit enough Smith Rowe has done nothing to justify his withdrawal from the squad.

Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin
Pepe is in good shape | Pool / Getty Images

Bukayo Saka (RW) – The England international caused all kinds of trouble for Wolves from the first minute on Tuesday night. His change of stance from left side to right has seen him blossom and he will be looking for his fifth goal in eight Premier League appearances.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – The Frenchman is Arsenal’s top Premier League scorer so far this season and did a great job connecting the game before the end. He seems to have struck a chord with those playing around him and should continue at the top.

Nicolas Pepe (LW) – Signed for £ 72million it’s fair to say Pepe hasn’t always impressed in an Arsenal shirt but currently he’s in irresistible form. The Ivorian scored the team’s goal at Molineux and gives the team better balance when operating from the left. Its recent shape deserves to be recognized.